The Jungle

The Jungle

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The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair

     If you are or you know someone that is an immigrant to this country, then you

know the struggles and hardships that one must face. Forget the language barrier,

problems such as no money, no food or shelter, even no job are all brutal circumstances.

All these problems are tough to surpass, and doing so is a task in itself. In The Jungle

Upton Sinclair portrays all the problems that a Lithuanian family must encounter to

survive. This novel reflects the time period, the conflicts around the country, and the

conflicts of a family struggling to survive. A truly great novel in my opinion, The Jungle

should be read by everyone for enjoyment, and even for knowledge.

     The main characters in this novel are a immigrant family from Lithuania. The

family consisting of Jurgis and Antanas Rudkus, Ona and Elizabeth Lukoszaite (with all

six of her children), and many personal friends and enemies of the family. The Lukoszaite

family have come to America to gain wealth after their recent death of their father. Jurgis

who is madly in love with Ona comes along with his father to America. A family from the

poor roots of Lithuania come oversees to seek great wealth and success in the United

States, escaping the slums of their native country. The setting is in Chicago, in the town

of Packingtown.

     Escaping poverty in their native country, with a heartbreaking loss of a family

member, the entire group packs up and heads for the highway so to speak to achieve

wealth in America. The novel begins with a lovely wedding between Ona and Jurgis. The

reception followed tradition, but the younger generation didn’t participate in the usual

customs of a wedding. This just went to show how different the two countries really are.

Struggling to pay the cost of the reception, everyone must leave early to go to work the

next morning, including the wife and groom. Of all the family members, Jurgis is the most

suited for the job because he is physically fit and has a workers attitude. The children are

to go to school, and the women would have to find a job. With the help of Jonas, who is

the brother of Elizabeth, the family finds a rotten apartment in a rat infested, run down

building. Jurgis decides to spend the remaining of their money to buy a house because a

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house means that something was achieved, and this house would represent the beginning

of a new era.

     The new era lasted a extremely short time, because numerous injuries and other

side problems drove the hard underachieving family in serious debt. Countless injuries

kept Jurgis out for weeks here, children dying of illnesses there, Ona turning to a

prostitute, all led to the downfall of the family that was destined to start a great life, with

money, children going to school, and peace and love. The death of Ona and their son, the

running away of Jurgis, the loss of their home, all showed how easily the destiny blew up.

     Job after job, crime after crime, jail sentence after jail sentence, the story grew

worse and worse. There was, however, a ray of light that never quite extinguished. It

took some time and some scandals, but the novel turned for the good with Jurgis reuniting

with his loved ones, and seeing how politics can bring equality to everyone and everything.
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